Saturday, February 24, 2007

Extreme Temperatures - Where's the Global Warming?



I was looking at our local temperature history and noticed that most of the record high temperatures over the past 70 years were between 1980 and 1990 or between 1950 and 1955, while the record low temperatures were fairly evenly distributed. This graphic shows the 12 months' (not individually identified) record high temperatures and the year that they occurred. Click image to enlarge.

That didn't jibe with current assertions about global warming causing temperature extremes and record temperatures occurring in the last ten years. I thought that it might be a local anomaly so I went to records by state at and got the following samples scattered all over the U.S.


On the recommendation of Dr. Roger Pielke, Sr. at the University of Colorado, I created a database from the data shown on the state charts below for all 50 states from 1884 to May 2004 (end of available data from that source). [Also see further explanatory notes regarding these data on tomorrow's post]

This is what it shows (click on image to enlarge):

The chart plots the number of record high temperatures by year for all 50 states. There is a 10-year trendline to help smooth out the data. It clearly shows that, for the U.S., the last 10 years were really no hotter than average (600 data points in 120 years = 5 per year) in creating record high temperatures. It might be worthwhile to take a look at other land masses in this way.

Dr. Pielke also requested another chart showing the low extremes which is shown below.

My comments to Dr. Pielke concerning these data were:
I'm not exactly sure how one might interpret the results of the low temps. Certainly, the 60s through the 80s had their share of record cold with the moving average of about 7-8 per year. The last ten years has seen the moving average fall toward the overall per year average of 5 (600 data points / 120 years).

There has been greater variability (range) on the record high side (30 in 1936) than the record low side (18 in 1917) overall.

How any of the data can substantiate "global warming" is a little beyond me, I'm afraid. There is not a convincing trend of extremes to support the contention that the beginning of the 21st century is markedly different from, say, the 1950s. If the contention that the number of extremes on the high side should correspond to the change toward a hotter climate is correct, then the evidence is not there... or at least apparent to me.

Perhaps the notion that the "global warming" effect is more on the low side (few low extremes) might be hinted at with what is shown, but I wouldn't be comfortable with just a few years at the end; I'd want a couple of decades of low [few]/no low records to support that.
The work file with the database and charts will be available at Climate Science soon if you wish to exam it or use it to compare with other data. For now, it is nothing more than the raw data with two summary charts that raise some questions.


Below are the samples from various states representing regions of the U.S. that I mentioned earlier.

Records by state at Source: National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Sorry, but I just don't see "global warming" in these extremes. It must be happening on some other part of the globe. CO2 is just not doing its job.

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There is always an easy solution to every human problem—neat, plausible, and wrong.
Henry Louis Mencken (1880–1956)
“The Divine Afflatus,” A Mencken Chrestomathy, chapter 25, p. 443 (1949)
... and one could add "not all human problems really are."
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Tracking Interest Rates

Tracking Interest Rates


SEARCH BLOG: FEDERAL RESERVE for full versions... or use the Blog Archive pulldown menu.

February 3, 2006
Go back to 1999-2000 and see what the Fed did. They are following the same pattern for 2005-06. If it ain't broke, the Fed will fix it... and good!
August 29, 2006 The Federal Reserve always acts on old information... and is the only cause of U.S. recessions.
December 5, 2006 Last spring I wrote about what I saw to be a sharp downturn in the economy in the "rustbelt" states, particularly Michigan.
March 28, 2007
The Federal Reserve sees no need to cut interest rates in the light of adverse recent economic data, Ben Bernanke said on Wednesday.
The Fed chairman said ”to date, the incoming data have supported the view that the current stance of policy is likely to foster sustainable economic growth and a gradual ebbing in core inflation”.

July 21, 2007 My guess is that if there is an interest rate change, a cut is more likely than an increase. The key variables to be watching at this point are real estate prices and the inventory of unsold homes.
August 11, 2007 I suspect that within 6 months the Federal Reserve will be forced to lower interest rates before housing becomes a black hole.
September 11, 2007 It only means that the overall process has flaws guaranteeing it will be slow in responding to changes in the economy... and tend to over-react as a result.
September 18, 2007 I think a 4% rate is really what is needed to turn the economy back on the right course. The rate may not get there, but more cuts will be needed with employment rates down and foreclosure rates up.
October 25, 2007 How long will it be before I will be able to write: "The Federal Reserve lowered its lending rate to 4% in response to the collapse of the U.S. housing market and massive numbers of foreclosures that threaten the banking and mortgage sectors."
"Should the elevated turbulence persist, it would increase the possibility of further tightening in financial conditions for households and businesses," he said.

"Uncertainties about the economic outlook are unusually high right now," he said. "These uncertainties require flexible and pragmatic policymaking -- nimble is the adjective I used a few weeks ago."

December 11, 2007 Somehow the Fed misses the obvious.
[Image from:]
December 13, 2007 [from The Christian Science Monitor]
"The odds of a recession are now above 50 percent," says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody's "We are right on the edge of a recession in part because of the Fed's reluctance to reduce interest rates more aggressively." [see my comments of September 11]
January 7, 2008 The real problem now is that consumers can't rescue the economy and manufacturing, which is already weakening, will continue to weaken. We've gutted the forces that could avoid a downturn. The question is not whether there will be a recession, but can it be dampened sufficiently so that it is very short.
January 11, 2008 This is death by a thousand cuts.
January 13, 2008 [N.Y. Times]
“The question is not whether we will have a recession, but how deep and prolonged it will be,” said David Rosenberg, the chief North American economist at Merrill Lynch. “Even if the Fed’s moves are going to work, it will not show up until the later part of 2008 or 2009.
January 17, 2008 A few days ago, Anna Schwartz, nonagenarian economist, implicated the Federal Reserve as the cause of the present lending crisis [from the Telegraph - UK]:
The high priestess of US monetarism - a revered figure at the Fed - says the central bank is itself the chief cause of the credit bubble, and now seems stunned as the consequences of its own actions engulf the financial system. "The new group at the Fed is not equal to the problem that faces it," she says, daring to utter a thought that fellow critics mostly utter sotto voce.
January 22, 2008 The cut has become infected and a limb is in danger. Ben Bernanke is panicking and the Fed has its emergency triage team cutting rates... this time by 3/4%. ...

What should the Federal Reserve do now? Step back... and don't be so anxious to raise rates at the first sign of economic improvement.
Individuals and businesses need stability in their financial cost structures so that they can plan effectively and keep their ships afloat. Wildly fluctuating rates... regardless of what the absolute levels are... create problems. Either too much spending or too much fear. It's just not that difficult to comprehend. Why has it been so difficult for the Fed?

About Me

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Michigan, United States
Air Force (SAC) captain 1968-72. Retired after 35 years of business and logistical planning, including running a small business. Two sons with advanced degrees; one with a business and pre-law degree. Beautiful wife who has put up with me for 4 decades. Education: B.A. (Sociology major; minors in philosopy, English literature, and German) M.S. Operations Management (like a mixture of an MBA with logistical planning)